Das, Derbes, Duverce, Higgins, and Singh win first Ford School Case Competition

November 26, 2014

The inaugural Ford School Case Competition has come to an end (see pictures here), with a group of first-year MPP students taking this year’s title.

Kamolika Das, Catherine Derbes, Brenda Duverce, Maureen Higgins, and Khush Singh emerged from Friday’s showcase as the 2014 Competition winners.

Tasked with helping to resolve East Lansing’s parking issues, the finalists consulted alumni mentors--policy practitioners who provided background on the challenge, talked to students about other important considerations to keep in mind, and described the stakeholders whose points of view should be considered.

Student teams then displayed their pitches to East Lansing administrators and a panel of Ford School faculty.

"Part of what made the competition unique," says Nick Pfost (MPP '15), "is that it was entirely conceived and implemented by students, in consultation with expert faculty and staff. Also, it spanned a two-week period, while other case competitions are typically condensed into one or two days. This allowed for more research and analysis. For example, Reid Wilson actually put East Lansing's parking data into GIS to map out parking use throughout the week, so you could visualize the parking needs at different times of day. Other students were able to make site visits to East Lansing."

“There is a mismatch in East Lansing between the amount of parking available and residents’ perceptions,” said Maureen Higgins, a member of the winning team. With this understanding, the group’s solution was focused on freeing up East Lansing’s most desirable parking spots while better communicating to residents about the available parking options. Higgins found the experience rewarding. “From my perspective, the case competition was a really great experience,” she said. “It gave us the opportunity to apply the skills and problem-solving techniques that we’re learning in class to a real problem.”

Nathan Triplett (MPP ’09), East Lansing’s mayor, Tweeted his appreciation to the participants: “Thanks to all who participated! Can’t wait to see the results. We appreciate the opportunity to partner.”

Congratulations again to this year’s winning team and to the Ford Case Collective for a successful inaugural competition.

City of East Lansing Partners:

  • Nathan Triplett, Mayor
  • George Lahanas, City Manager
  • Tim Dempsey, Director of Planning, Building and Development

Ford School Faculty Advisors:

  • Dean Susan M. Collins
  • Elisabeth Gerber
  • Barry Rabe
  • Kevin Stange
  • Megan Tompkins-Stange

Ford Case Competition Leadership Team:

  • Maron Alemu
  • Niketa Brar Kurstin
  • Alison Carey
  • Leann Down
  • Luke Horner
  • Aliza Kazmi
  • Demar Lewis
  • Rasheed Malik
  • Geraldine Montesinos
  • Bethany Patten
  • Erin Pidot
  • Nick Pfost
  • Meredith Reid
  • Julia Sarne
  • Sonja Swanbeck
  • Reid Wilson
  • Leila Yosef

Alumni mentors:

  • Eric Hesse (MPP/MS '06)
  • Rich Hughes (MPA '61)
  • Kurt Kimball (MPP '74)
  • Mike Ley (MPA '67)
  • Rebecca Long (MPP '98)
  • Chris Mueller (MPP/MBA '11)
  • Matt Naud (MPP '90)
  • Bill Stafford (MPP '75)
  • Nathan Triplett (MPP '09)